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Self-contradictory Hallucinations of Large Language Models: Evaluation, Detection and Mitigation

Niels M√ľndler · Jingxuan He · Slobodan Jenko · Martin Vechev

Halle B #139
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Tue 7 May 7:30 a.m. PDT — 9:30 a.m. PDT


Large language models (large LMs) are susceptible to producing text that contains hallucinated content. An important instance of this problem is self-contradiction, where the LM generates two contradictory sentences within the same context. In this work, we present a comprehensive investigation into self-contradiction for various instruction-tuned LMs, covering evaluation, detection, and mitigation. Our primary evaluation task is open-domain text generation, but we also demonstrate the applicability of our approach to shorter question answering. Our analysis reveals the prevalence of self-contradictions, e.g., in 17.7% of all sentences produced by ChatGPT. We then propose a novel prompting-based framework designed to effectively detect and mitigate self-contradictions. Our detector achieves high accuracy, e.g., around 80% F1 score when prompting ChatGPT. The mitigation algorithm iteratively refines the generated text to remove contradictory information while preserving text fluency and informativeness. Importantly, our entire framework is applicable to black-box LMs and does not require retrieval of external knowledge. Rather, our method complements retrieval-based methods, as a large portion of self-contradictions (e.g., 35.2% for ChatGPT) cannot be verified using online text. Our approach is practically effective and has been released as a push-button tool to benefit the public at

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